Time Warner Cable Taps BigBand For Switched-Digital Expansion

BigBand Networks, which first supplied switched-digital video (SDV) transmission technology to Time Warner Cable in 2005 to fuel the cable operator’s HD expansion, has won a new contract to supply SDV gear that Time Warner will deploy in its Los Angeles, New York City and Dallas systems.

“We have launched SDV in over 20 markets to date and know firsthand that, if we want to deploy new programming options for our customers, SDV is the fastest, most cost effective method for our existing network,” said Kevin Leddy, Time Warner Cable’s executive vice president of technology policy and product management, in a statement. “With the bandwidth that has been reclaimed Time Warner Cable is able to offer over 100 high definition channels to our customers and can launch such services as DOCSIS 3.0 and HD Video on Demand.”

Redwood City, Calif. based BigBand has built on its early lead in SDV, which saves bandwidth by transmitting cable networks as on-demand streams to subscribers when they tune to them, as opposed to broadcasting every network to every home in a cable system. The company’s SDV technology is being used to deliver programming to some 25 million cable homes today. Along with Time Warner Cable, BigBand counts Cablevision, Cox, Charter and Brighthouse among its customers.

BigBand has been working to expand the functionality of its SDV platform with its new Converged Video Exchange (CVEx) software, which is designed to unify the delivery of both linear and non-linear video services and support new IP devices in addition to traditional MPEG set-top boxes. CVEx dynamically controls the allocation of all RF and IP video services within a single bandwidth pool, and provides an overall view of service usage and resource utilization.

BigBand president and CEO Amir Bassan-Eskenazi says his company initially saw a big spike in SDV orders in markets where Verizon’s FiOS service was going after incumbent cable operators by offering a wealth of HD services. But now the pace of SDV orders is more uniform across the country, he says, as most markets see the incumbent cable operator competing with either AT&T or Verizon as well as satellite operator DirecTV over whose HD offering is more robust.

Bassan-Eskenazi expects the HD growth trend will continue, citing the buzz over 3D HD programming that he witnessed last weekend at the IBC show in Amsterdam.

“What it means to service providers is they have to be really efficient about bandwidth,” he says. “I don’t see a plateau coming anytime soon.”